I loved her, and she loved me. Sometimes I had ignored her, I regret, but this spring I had rededicated myself to her. She seemed happy. Life was good.
Imagine my shock when I opened the note from her last night that read:
I don't love you anymore.
Those endearing little actions of yours? They annoy the shit out of me.
I can do better than you. I'm out of here.
PS: You're a lousy kisser.
That's what it really felt like last night when I received my course evaluations for the spring semester.
I felt jilted, blindsided, gut-punched, without warning. My evaluations are usually pretty good. I have had some bad ones, but those were generally well-deserved. This spring, I worked exceptionally hard on my courses. I was attentive and responsive to the students. I was well-prepared and engaging. I assessed the students' work in detail and quickly. I did an excellent job. Or so I thought.
My students concluded otherwise. Sure, I got lots of love in the evaluations, but I'm the anti-Sarah Palin in viewing my audience, as I assume that my critics are right and that my fans are just being nice ("You're a pretty good kisser..."). Sarah and I may be alike in our thin skin, though, as try as I might to ignore my critics their words do hurt.
Some of the words were pretty harsh. Now, I study politics, and I know harsh words are often used in commenting on public figures, especially on blogs allowing anonymous posts. Like those blogs, my evaluations are done anonymously, on line, and that no doubt makes for harsher words than would be used face to face. But, still.
Is it possible not to know that your love is about ready to walk through the door, and to believe that everything between you is good? That's what this feels like. Now, when I think about looking into the faces of my students during class, I wonder how many were thinking: When can I walk through that door? Now, in thinking about my pleasant interactions throughout the semester, I wonder which students were thinking: I can't wait to be rid of you.
The worst part is the PS: You're a lousy kisser.
If you were told that, and you thought you actually were sort of a pretty good kisser, then what do you do next?
I was in a fog today. Literally. A dust fog. The sun did not penetrate it, and it was tough to breath. Driving was difficult.